England v Ireland: Rooney to provide Wembley spark

29May 2013

Betfair

 

Roy Hodgson's patched-up squad take to the field for the first of two international friendlies in a week as Christian Crowther offers his insight...

 

England v Republic of Ireland, Wednesday 20:00, ITV, Match Odds: England 1.52, Rep of Ireland 8.0, The Draw 4.4

 

You have to feel a little for Roy Hodgson, the timing of these friendlies couldn't be any worse, coming just days after the draining domestic season came to a close.

 

With some of his prospective players having played in excess of 50 games, it's no surprise to see an innocuous toe injury or two appearing as the sound of suitcases zipping can be heard in the background as the phone call is made.

 

Still, what players that are left in a rapidly dwindling squad ought to be up for making an impression in these World Cup qualifier auditions.

 

Hodgson's reign has so far delivered a mixture of results, with some potentially damaging draws in qualifying against the likes of Poland punctuated by some impressive friendly victories over Italy and Brazil since exiting Euro 2012.

 

Despite a series of big-name desertions, England are still worthy favourites for victory at Wembley, over an Ireland side ranked 32 places below them by the wise heads at FIFA.

 

England are unbeaten at Wembley since Hodgson took stewardship in May 2012, with a 100% record from two friendlies at the national stadium. Meanwhile, Giovanni Trapattoni's squad have been unconvincing in recent draws in qualifying against Austria and Sweden.

 

The Republic are likely to be at their most dogged in a bid to stop England in this derby atmosphere but the difference in quality should provide England with joy. Ireland's players are largely drawn from the lower end of the Premier League and below, while Hodgson has the pick of players from the top clubs in the country.

 

First Goalscorer

 

Wayne Rooney's decision to hand in a transfer request for a second time at Old Trafford may be questionable, but his form in an England shirt is not. Six goals in as many appearances ahead of this game for his country make the potential captain a tempting pick, especially having struck first on four occasions in this fruitful run.

 

Half Time

 

One refreshing feature of the Hodgson era has been his side's ability to start games with decent impetus even in the often docile environment of the international friendly. The last six times that England have taken to the field under Hodgson, the ex-Fulham boss has been able to enjoy his half-time cuppa with his team's nose in front.

 

Best Bet: Back Wayne Rooney to score first @ 5.3

Other Recommended Bet: Back England to lead at half time @ 2.0

 

Bet HERE

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Keywords: England, Ireland, Rooney, Wembley

Source: Betfair

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